White House Blog: Fox Lies

Reality Check

For years Fox has masqueraded as a news network while acting as the Republican Party’s own version of Pravda by spreading misinformation instead of reporting the news. When a Democrat has been in the White House they have concentrated on a constant stream of dishonest attacks. In contrast, when George Bush was president, they shifted away from such criticism and participated in spreading the lies coming from his administration.

The White House is no longer playing along with Fox’s pretense of being a fair and balanced news organization. Earlier in the month when Obama pulled off the “full Ginsburg” he substituted Univision for Fox when doing five interviews the same day. Now the White House is willing to use the L-word. Today The White House Blog posted a Reality Check which began by debunking some of the latest false claims made by Glenn Beck and one of his guests. They began:

Last night Fox News continued its disregard for the facts in an attempt to smear the Administration’s efforts to win the Olympics for the United States. In the past, hosting the Olympics has been a source of pride and unity for the country, but once again Fox News’ Glenn Beck program has shown that nothing is worthy of respect if it can be used as part of a partisan attack to boost ratings.
RHETORIC:          BECK SAID VANCOUVER LOST $1 BILLION WHEN IT “HAD THE OLYMPICS.” Glenn Beck said, Vancouver lost, how much was it? they lost a billion dollars when they had the Olympics.”  [Transcript, Glenn Beck Show, 9/29/09]
REALITY:              VANCOUVER’S OLYMPICS WILL NOT TAKE PLACE UNTIL 2010. Vancouver will host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games from February 12 – 28, 2010 and March 12-21, 2010, respectively. [Vancouver2010.com, accessed 9/29/09]
RHETORIC:          VALERIE JARRETT “WAS LAST SEEN WITH THE NEA.” Beck’s guest, FOX News contributor Pat Caddell, said, “[Obama] is going to go [to Copenhagen] with Valerie Jarrett who was last seen with the NEA pumping up their use of, you know, money.” [Transcript, Glenn Beck Show, 9/29/09]
REALITY:              VALERIE JARRETT WAS NOT ON THE NEA CONFERENCE CALL. Valerie Jarrett was not a participant in the August 10, 2009 United We Serve/NEA conference call.
Their fact checking is not limited to Glenn Beck. The item ends by referring readers to PolitiFact, “For even more Fox lies.”Yes, Glenn Beck and others at Fox frequently do lie, and this should be pointed out rather than pretending they are a real news organization.
Michael Scherer at Swampland, recognizing Fox’s reason for existing, predicts that the fight between Obama and Fox will continue.
This is just the latest public declaration in the barely-subsurface battle that has been going on for months between Fox News and the White House–which Fox is winning at least in terms of ratings. We are in new terrain here. The White House is using its official blog to go after a network. The network long ago demonstrated that its raison d’etre for the moment is organizing, chaneling and profiting from the opposition to basically anything the White House does.

Since both the White House and Fox are largely trying to rally different audiences, they can both benefit by keeping this fight going. In other words, there is a lot more “Calling ‘Em Out” to come.

At least it was a two way battle. For years Fox has engaged in misinformation campaigns with too little response from the other side.

Orchestrated Protests and Misinformation Against Health Insurance Reform

Rolling Stone features a story on The Lie Machine which shows how the insurance industry and Republicans worked to spread misinformation, and get right wingers out protesting, in an attempt to block health care reform. From the story:

According to internal documents obtained by Rolling Stone, Conservatives for Patients’ Rights had been working closely for weeks as a “coalition partner” with three other right-wing groups in a plot to unleash irate mobs at town-hall meetings just like Doggett’s. Far from representing a spontaneous upwelling of populist rage, the protests were tightly orchestrated from the top down by corporate-funded front groups as well as top lobbyists for the health care industry. Call it the return of the Karl Rove playbook: The effort to mobilize the angriest fringe of the Republican base was guided by a conservative dream team that included the same GOP henchmen who Swift-boated John Kerry in 2004, smeared John McCain in 2000, wrote the script for Republican obstructionism on global warming, and harpooned the health care reform effort led by Hillary Clinton in 1993.

“The insurance industry is up to the same dirty tricks, using the same devious PR practices it has used for many years, to kill reform,” says Wendell Potter, who stepped down last year as chief of corporate communications for health insurance giant CIGNA. “I’m certain that people showing up at these town halls feel that they’re there on their own — but they don’t realize they’re being incited, ultimately, by the insurance industry and the other special interests.”

Behind the scenes, top Republicans — including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Minority Leader John Boehner and the chairman of the GOP’s Senate steering committee, Jim DeMint — worked hand-in-glove with the organizers of the town brawls. Their goal was not only to block health care reform but to bankrupt President Obama’s political capital before he could move on to other key items on his agenda, including curbing climate change and expanding labor rights. As DeMint told an August teleconference of nearly 20,000 town-hall activists, “If we can stop him on this, the administration won’t be able to go on to cap and trade, card check and the other things they want to do.”

A Plea To Leave Our Current Insurance System Alone

The system is only broke for tens of millions of people–why fix it?

Delusional Right Wingers Compare Their Attempts To Restrict Reproductive Rights To Civil Rights Battles

The Los Angeles Times looks at the latest strategy from the right wing to try to circumvent a Supreme Court decision and impose their views upon the country:

Abortion foes, tired of a profusion of laws that limit but do not abolish abortion, are trying to answer the question in a way that they hope could put an end to legalized abortion.

Across the country, they have revived efforts to amend state constitutions to declare that personhood — and all rights accorded human beings — begins at conception.

From Florida to California, abortion foes are gathering signatures, pressing state legislators and raising money to put personhood measures on ballots next year. In Louisiana, a class at a Catholic high school is lobbying state legislators as part of a civics exercise.

“We have big and small efforts going on in 30 states right now,” said Keith Mason, co-founder of Colorado-based Personhood USA. “Our goal is to activate the population.”

Critics deride the effort as the “egg-as-person” movement and say it threatens in vitro fertilization; some kinds of birth control, including IUDs and pills; and stem cell research. They say that Americans will reject it as a government intrusion into their privacy.

Yes, this is real government intrusion in individual’s lives–not the imagined abuses seen by many conservatives. The irony is that such measures are supported by many of the same people who are engaging in right wing protests based upon a delusional view of what Obama is doing, often expressing rhetorical but not real support for freedom

As Ted Miller, spokesman for NARAL Pro-Choice America, said, “It’s a backdoor abortion ban.” So far voters and state legislatures have rejected such efforts. Supporters see a comparison between their efforts and supporters of homosexual rights and even Martin Luther King’s struggle for civil rights. What they fail to recognize is that the general movement of history has been for greater liberty and their attempts to impose such reactionary views have little chance of success in the modern world which they so desperately fight. Despite a rare outlier poll which suggests greater opposition to abortion, the vast majority of Americans would not back such a ban and a return to the era of shirt hanger abortions. A poll from May showed that 68 percent oppose overturning Roe v. Wade with only 30 percent supporting this. By continuing to pursue this issue, the right wing continues to marginalize themselves. Continued opposition to reproductive rights will leave the Republicans as a minority regional party limited to the south and Mormon belt of the west.

RIP: Andy Williams’ Brain


Andy Williams has become senile, or perhaps just nuts, in his old age. The Telegraph reports:

Andy Williams, the veteran pop singer, has accused Barack Obama of “following Marxist theory” and “wanting the country to fail”.

Williams, a lifelong Republican whose hits include Moon River and Music To Watch Girls By, told the Radio Times he thought Mr Obama wanted to turn the US into a “socialist country”…

“Don’t like him at all,” he said, “I think he wants to create a socialist country. The people he associates with are very Left-wing. One is registered as a Communist.

“Obama is following Marxist theory. He’s taken over the banks and the car industry. He wants the country to fail.”

Aricept cannot cure this.

Read About Us On Twitter

The importance of social media in the internet has increased tremendously the last couple of years. The last two blog stories include interaction between Facebook and bloggers to bring in the Secret Service and protest the continued presence of a poll on Facebook which advocated political violence. At one time links from other blogs was considered a major measure of the success of a blog, but today much of the traffic is generated from social media.

There are services such as Technorati and Google which track links from other blogs (despite problems with both). It is harder to similarly track and publicize links from social media. Facebook is especially difficult since much of Facebook consists of personal pages which are only available to one’s Facebook friends. The Sitemeter shows when someone comes to the blog from Facebook, but I often cannot tell if this is from someone clicking on a link to a blog post on my own Facebook page or from another Facebook user linking here. It is also questionable as to how to handle links from blog aggregators and some types of social media. While it is rare day  that there are not links to Liberal Values on such sites, often they consist only of links and nothing which is quotable.

Twitter provides a better opportunity for tracking and publicizing links from social media. Twitter is open, compared to Facebook comments often only being available to one’s friends. The brief comments from Twitter in response to a blog post are worth adding to a blog discussion.

I’m still experimenting with ways to incorporate posts on Twitter about blog posts here into the blog. In some cases but not others, comments on Twitter generate a trackback which I’ve already been posting. Over the weekend I’ve added a couple of other features. On the left sidebar I have added a RSS feed of the most recent comments fromTwitter which the feed picks up.

There is also an additional link following this feed which goes to a page at Twisty. This page gives a historical listing of comments about blog posts which appeared on Twitter, ranking by number of entries. The page also lists those who have commented on Liberal Values the most on Twitter. Showing the variety of topics discussed here, the highest number is from someone posting as healthreformusa. Next on the list is drwhonews. Others in the list is film maker and Huffington Post blogger Lee Stranahan and writer Martin Bosworth, who also blogs at Huffington Post.

I’m just beginning to look into integrating material from Twitter. While there might turn out to be other sites I am not yet aware of, Twisty does look like a useful site. The link in the sidebar does seem to give the most information, but I also found that I receive a different list if I do a search simply for “liberalvaluesblog.” While I haven’t linked to this search on the sidebar I cannot resist adding a link here because the first entry about Liberal Values is a simple comment saying, “This guy is good.” How can I question whether Twitter provides comments which are of value?

Threatening Facebook Poll Now Covered By Media

The Facebook poll I mentioned earlier which asked, “should Obama be killed?” is now being covered by the mainstream media. AP reports:

The poll, posted Saturday on Facebook, was taken off the popular social networking site quickly after company officials were alerted to its existence. But, like any threat against the president, Secret Service agents are taking no chances.

“We are aware of it and we will take the appropriate investigative steps,” said Darrin Blackford, a Secret Service spokesman. “We take of these things seriously.”

Of course those of us following this on Facebook and the blogs know that Facebook was  slow to remove the poll despite numerous complaints about it.  Most likely the poll was put up by a harmless nut, but the Secret Service is right to take it seriously pending an investigation. Nuts are not always harmless.

Facebook Poll: “Should Obama Be Killed?”


The big controversy on Facebook this morning was over the above poll which asked “should Obama be killed?” There were conflicting reports as to whether it was posted last night or earlier in the weekend, with many on Facebook questioning why it wasn’t taken down. Some have commented that people such as Glenn Beck have created the atmosphere which has led to such polls being posted while others noted that right wing polls have frequently been posted on Facebook, such as one questioning the existence of the Holocaust.

Many people have reported complaining about the poll to Facebook, along with reporting this to the Secret Service and the Cybercrimes division of the FBI. The poll was ultimately taken down around 1:00 E.S.T. The entire issue went down the memory hole on Facebook as comments linking to the poll were also removed. This morning other polls went up regarding people’s opinions of the poll and what should be done to the person who posted the original poll. These are also going down the memory hole with the one I posted on my Facebook page (along with subsequent discussion) also disappearing.

While much of the discussion of the issue has disappeared from Facebook with the removal of these polls, it has attracted attention in the blogosphere. The first mention I have seen of this was in this diary at Daily Kos.

Update: Greg Sargent has more:

The Secret Service is investigating the circumstances surrounding an eye-opening Facebook poll that asked whether Obama should be assassinated, a Secret Service spokesman confirms to us.

“We are taking the appropriate investigative steps,” the spokesman, Ed Donovan, told our reporter, Amanda Erickson. “We are aware of it.”

The poll asked: “Should Obama be killed?” It offered four choices: No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care.

The poll, of course, is only the latest example of the sort of viral incitement to violence that flares up when the sparks of anti-Obama hatred are fed oxygen by the bellows of the Internets. While anyone can put up such a poll, this kind of stuff is a sign of the moment — as David Kurtz put it, it’s akin to graffiti on the virtual wall of our times.

According to a source, the Secret Service has contacted Facebook and asked them to take the poll down. And, indeed, it’s already down.

Update II: The mainstream media is now covering the story.

Update III: A poll regarding how Facebook should respond to this problem is now back up. I had linked to it earlier and the link vanished, but has now returned.

NY Daily News Reports Claims That Elizabeth Edwards Bashed Rielle Hunter in Annonymous Blog Comments and Made John Sleep In Their Barn


The New York Daily News has a number of claims about the John Edwards/ Rielle Hunter affair, including a claim that Elizabeth Edwards has been bashing Rielle Hunter in blog comments, writing under a pseudonym. The article also cites other claims from the proposal for Edwards aide Andrew Young’s book, including that Elizabeth has been talking to a divorce lawyer and that John Edwards and Rielle Hunter have made a sex tape. Additional claims include:

  • Edwards had had affairs with other women on the campaign trail.
  • When Edwards was forced to call off a birthday date with Hunter because he found out that Elizabeth’s cancer had returned, an unsympathetic Hunter screamed at him.
  • After learning of the affair, Elizabeth made John sleep in their barn though she would wake him up with accusatory rants.
  • Hunter relied on a California psychic named Bob to tell her where to live and what to do.
  • Edwards had little affection for John Kerry – once comparing him to Richie Rich – but changed his tune when the Democratic presidential nominee tapped him as his running mate.
  • Ted Kennedy once told Young about a would-be assassin who managed to get into his Senate office because one of his bodyguards was having a gay liaison with one of his top aides.

With regards to the item on Kerry, it has been clear since the 2004 election that John Kerry does not think much of John Edwards.

SciFi Weekend: Flash Forward; Lost; V; Dexter; and More Kristen Bell Bikini Pictures


In what was generally a very disappointing week of premiers for new shows, there was one excellent pilot. FlashForward was by far the best pilot I saw.  While the concept is taken from Robert Sawyer’s novel, the actual storyline is entirely new. One significant difference from the concept of the novel is that rather than having everyone on earth flash forward to years in the future, the flash forward in this show takes place to April 29, 2010 at 10pm Pacific Time. This leads to a different type of story, presumably dealing far more with the daily lives of the individuals  involved.

Among the characters whose lives might be changed by seeing six months into the future, Sonya Walger plays Olivia, a doctor and a wife who seems far more likable than the bitchy wife she played on HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me. In Walger’s flash forward she sees that she is intimately involved with a man who is not her current husband. At the end of the first episode is is obvious she will meet the man very soon as she is the father of a child she was treating (and who knew her name, presumably from the child’s  own flash forward).


The presence of Sonya Walger, who also plays Penelope Widmore on Lost, isn’t the only comparison between FlashForward and Lost.  The chaos in the scene after everyone lost consciousness is reminiscent of the chaos after the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 in the pilot of Lost.  While the above screen capture isn’t clear enough to see the details, one scene showed a billboard for Oceanic Airlines in the background which noted their safety record. Is this show taking place in an alternative timeline where the bomb at the end of last year’s final episode of Lost was successful in changing history and the crash did not occur? It created a big enough mystery at the end to see the one person awake in the video from a stadium in Detroit when everyone else was blacked out. Was this person from the Dharma Initiative?

A big question for shows of this nature is whether the producers know where it is going. Too many shows, such as The X-Files, started out by creating a mystery but lacking a clear direction the mythology of the show became confusing and the conclusion was not satisfying. It appears that the producers of FlashForward do have ideas as to an explanation for the events, and hope the show lasts at least three years as it would take two years to do the conclusion as they intend. Marc Guggenheim, one of the producers, said in an interview with SFX magazine (via Io9):

We know what the ultimate season is and the penultimate season is. For in between, we know the various seasons but we are treating it like an accordion. In success, [the show] can go seven years. In less success, it would need to go three years to work. The end game of the show, to be properly done, really requires two full seasons focusing on the end game.

The pilot also included a commercial for the other eagerly awaited science fiction show of the year–the remake of V.  A promo for the show appears above. There have been rumors of production problems with the show for a while, and now Variety reports that they are going to divide the series. The show will go on hiatus after the first four episodes, saving the final nine for later, probably resuming in mid-March. There are claims that this is to avoid competition from American Idol and the Olympics but it would seem like a show has a better chance to succeed without such a hiatus.


Dexter resumes tonight but, as with previous seasons, the first episode of the season has been available on line. I assume they intentionally leak out the first episode every year to create buzz for the show, but I wonder why they don’t simply air the show on demand as opposed to encouraging such down loading. I won’t say anything to spoil tonight’s episode, but it does deal with the complications for Dexter from having a wife and baby. The episodes also ends with a mini-cliff hanger which gets to the question as to whether it is safe for Dexter to pursue his activities.


Dexter’s adversary for the season is The Trinity Killer, played by John Lithgow. The New York Times interviewed both John Lithgow and Michael C. Hall:

Q. John, what was your reaction when you were approached to portray a madman who kills in multiples of three?

MR. LITHGOW I felt like, “Oh, yeah. I know how to play this.” The fascination — which is the fascination of the whole series — is: How can a person outwardly so ordinary, almost bland, have such a baroque and bizarre secret life? I’m usually hired for my blandness. [He laughs.] I love the idea of shocking people. I thought it was high time I did that again.

Q. Here’s your essay question: Compare and contrast your individual serial killer characters.

MR. HALL Well, they’re obviously both saddled with a compulsion. They’re different seeds from very different trees. For Dexter’s part, I think it’s an awareness that Trinity does what he does, and it makes him compelling the way no one has ever been to him — other than perhaps his brother.


With Couple’s Retreat coming out on October 9, the internet is being flooded with pictures of Kristen Bell and Kristin Davis in bikinis and lingerie. While not a bad way to end the summer, this is a waste of Kristen Bell’s talent as seen in Veronica Mars.